Wall approves bid to start digging in industrial park | Local

Journal Staff Laura Heckmann

Wall City Council on Thursday morning approved a $1.4 million bid from Underground Construction to begin digging infrastructure for Phase 1 of the Wall Industrial Park.

Mary Williams, president of the Wall Economic Development Corporation, expects Phase 1 to be completed by mid-summer. The park is split into 18 lots, with Phase 1 tackling the first four. Work to be completed with Phase 1 will include trenching for lift stations, water, sewer lines, utilities and electricity. The schedule will also include connecting the park to the city’s sewage system.

“As soon as weather-wise possible, we’ll start moving the earth,” Williams said. “It’s so exciting. It’s so close to happening.

The vision that first launched the industrial park several years ago was a desire to “retain and grow local businesses first,” Williams said. “Wall has been so landlocked that there are people doing business in places that don’t really welcome them anymore.”

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The industrial park will not only give local businesses a chance to grow, but invite other businesses to locate there, she said. The hope is that the park will bring new small businesses to Wall and diversify its economy.

“There are so many growth opportunities for us right now,” Williams said.

With an already strong tourism industry in the city, the industrial park will target an additional layer of agricultural businesses. A comprehensive plan that has been in the works for two years has identified a need for diversification, recognizing the tourism industry as seasonal.

“We have huge farmers and ranchers who have been here for generations,” Williams said. “We would like to meet some of their needs. Maybe even some processing plants, to use products already grown in the region.

Le Parc Industriel du Mur is looking for small businesses, ideally with two to five employees. Williams hopes the planned growth associated with the park will only serve to enhance what the citizens of Wall already value in their community.

“People appreciate having a small town, with a great education system,” she said. “Being able to live in a small community, where the children are safe. We have a lot of great selling points here at Wall. It’s a great place to live and grow your children.

The park, a vision three years in the making, has been a collaborative effort from the start. The price of construction has made it difficult for small towns to grow, Williams said. Help from the Pennington County Commission and interest from Underground Construction provided crucial impetus.

Last August, the Pennington County Commission selected Wall Industrial Park as one of several projects nominated to help fund the estimated construction cost allocation of $661,900.

“That’s absolutely what kept us going,” Williams said.

She described a trail of tire tracks slicing through the dirt near the project sign marking the park, a visual representation of local interest and enthusiasm. Williams painted a hopeful picture of local kids returning from college to start businesses in their hometowns – part of the vision that initially fueled the industrial park. A vision which, after Thursday morning, comes a little closer.

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